« AnteriorContinuar »
Frigates, Acasta, Penelope, Ethalion, Ulysses, Æolus, Circe, 1809. Cleopatra, and Eurydice; ship-sloops Cherub, Gorée, Pelorus, we Star, Stork; brig-sloops Amaranthe, Eclair, Forrester, Frolic, Recruit, Wolverine ; gun-brigs Express, Haughty, and Swinger.
On the 30th of that month the expedition, consisting, as here named, of six sail of the line, one 44-gun ship, five frigates, one 22-gun ship, and 13 sloops and smaller vessels, forming a total of 28 sail of pendants, under the command of rear-admiral the honourable sir Alexander Cochrane, having in charge a fleet of transports containing about 10000 troops, commanded by lieutenant-general Beckwith, arrived off the island of ExpeMartinique from Carlisle bay; whence it had sailed on the 28th. The land force at this time at Mar- off the tinique consisted of about 2400 effective regulars, and about an equal number of militia, or “ national The guards,” a name, as it turned out, rather inappro- force priately given to them; and there were mounted tained. upon Fort Desaix, the arsenal, Fort Royal, and the batteries on the coast, about 289 pieces of cannon. The naval force consisted of the french 40-gun frigate Amphitrite,* lying at Fort-Royal, the 18-gun ship-corvette Diligente at St.-Pierre's, and the late british brig-sloop Carnation at Marin.
The governor-general of the island was vice-admiral Villaret-Joyeuse, the opponent of lord Howe on the 1st of June.
Early on the morning of the 30th one division of British the troops, nearly 3000 in number, commanded by benda major-general Frederick Maitland, landed, without out opopposition, at Sainte-Luce, under the superintend-lion. ence of captain Fahie of the Belleisle ; and a detachment of 600 men, under Major Henderson of the York Rangers, landed at Cape Salomon, also without opposition. The appearance of the former in Marin bay was the signal for the French to set fire to and destroy the Carnation. While these proceedings were going on upon the south-west or
1809. leeward coast of the island, a division of about 6500 Jan. men, commanded by lieutenant-general sir George
Prevost, disembarked, under the direction of captain Disaf. Philip Beaver of the 40-gun frigate Acasta, at Baie of the Robert on the north-east or windward coast, still militia. without experiencing any opposition. The fact is,
that the french governor-general had committed the great mistake of sending to each of the two points at which the British had landed, Baie Robert and Pointe Sainte-Luce, two of the four battalions of militia on the island, unaccompanied by troops of the line. The consequence was, that the militia, or “gardes nationales,” left the field to the enemy, and
retired peaceably to their homes. Procla This traitorous conduct was partly the effect of a to the proclamation, addressed by the two british comblacks. manders in chief to the black or coloured popula
tion, of which, almost exclusively, the militia was composed. No copy of this proclamation accompanies the official letters: it is merely referred to in them. An
An enemy has an immense advantage, where the territory he is about to invade contains a slave population, but there is a homely proverb, about persons with glass windows, &c.which might be worth attending to by those who scruple not to resort to so barbarous, so unauthorized a mode of warfare, as that of inciting the slave, if not actually to murder, to betray his master.
The first meeting between the regular troops on tween each side was upon the heights of Desfourneaux and british Surirey, on the 1st and 2d of February; on each of french which days the british forces, under the command, mogu nominally of lieutenant-general sir George Provost,
but really of brigadier-general Hoghton,* were suc
* That sir George took no personal share in the battles that ensued, his own letters, on a careful perusal of them, sufficiently prove. For instance: “I lost no time after this junction, and pushed forward" (not himself, but) “the honourable lieutenantcolonel Pakenham,” &c. “ This movement I supported” (not by leading his own division, but) “by the light-infantry battalion under brigadier-general Hoghton ;" who, in fact, did all that
cessful, but not without a loss amounting to 84 killed, 1809, 334wounded, and 18 missing. The French,who, though Feb. decidedly inferior in numbers, were strongly posted, acknowledge a loss, in killed and wounded together, of 700 men. On the same night, or the succeeding morning, the french troops in this vicinity abandoned their advanced posts, and retired upon Fort Desaix. After the detachment of 600 York Rangers, under major Henderson, had possessed themselves of the battery on Pointe Salomon, an attack was made upon Islet aux Ramiers, or Pigeon island ; and, on the 4th of February, after being bombarded for 12 hours Occuby 10 mortars and howitzers, five of which had been of got to the top of a commanding height by the very island. great exertions of a detachment of seamen under captain Cockburn of the Pompée, that important little spot surrendered. This post was acquired with a Joss of only two seamen killed and one soldier wounded. Nor did the french garrison of 136 men, the retreat of whom had been cut off by the frigates Æolus and Cleopatra, captains lord William FitzRoy and Samuel John Pechell, and the brig-sloop Recruit, captain Charles Napier, detached to the upper end of the bay, lose more than five killed and 11 wounded.
Sir Alexander immediately stood in with the British squadron and anchored in Fort-Royal bay; but, on dron the approach of the two frigates and sloop, the an. French had set fire to and destroyed the Amphitrite Fortand the other vessels in the harbour. They had Royal. also abandoned all the forts in this quarter, at CaseNavire, and along the neighbouring coast, and shut themselves up in Fort Desaix. On the 5th majorgeneral Maitland, who had marched from SainteLuce to Champin and La Croissades without the slightest opposition, pursued his march, and on the 8th arrived at Case-Navire, equally unmolested ; was done. On another occasion sir George writes : “Having yesterday evening reconnoitred the enemy's advanced picket, I decided upon attempting the surprise of it in the course of the night, and gave directions accordingly to major Pearson, &c."
1809. thereby completing the investment of Fort Desaix her on the western side. On the 9th, being garrisoned Sur- solely by militia, the town of St.-Pierre and its derender pendencies, along with the ship-corvette Diligente of St. at anchor in the port, surrendered, on the first sum
mons, to lieutenant-colonel Barnes; and on the 10th the town of Fort-Royal was occupied by the british troops.
From the 10th to the 19th the besiegers were occupied in constructing gun and mortar batteries, in landing cannon, mortars, and howitzers, with their. ammunition and stores, in dragging them to the several points selected by the engineers, and in the completion of the works preparatory to a bombard
ment of Fort Desaix. On the 19th, at 4 h. 30 m. British P. M., the British opened upon that fortress from six bard points, with 14 heavy pieces of cannon and 28 mor
tars and howitzers; and the bombardment continued without intermission until the 23d at noon, when the french general sent a trumpet with a letter proposing terms. These being considered inadmissible, the bombardment recommenced at 10 P, M., and continued until 9 A. M. on the 24th; when three white flags were discovered flying in the fortress. The
british batteries immediately ceased; and, in the Marti- course of the day, the french colony of Martinique nique surrendered by capitulation to the arms of Great
As far as appears in the Gazette, no loss was british sustained by the british troops during the bombard
ment; but the seamen serving on shore under captain Cockburn sustained a loss of five men and one boy killed, and the Amaranthe's boatswain and gunner, (Thomas Wickland and John Thompson,) one master's mate, (James Scott,) one midshipman, (Thomas Mills,) and the gunner, (John Edevearn,) of the Pompée, and 14 men wounded; total, six killed, 10 badly, and nine slightly wounded. The whole of the Amaranthe's loss, amounting to three killed, four badly, and two slightly wounded, arose from the accidental explosion of the laboratory tent in the
rear of the great mortar þattery on Tartanson. We 1809, must not part with the seamen without stating, that Dec. they were of the greatest use in the operations of the siege, particularly in dragging the heavy cannon up the
The French acknowledge a loss in killed and Same wounded, by the bombardment alone, of 200 men: french a loss which, had it not been for the timely surrender of the garrison, might have been much greater ; for it appears that the shells of the besiegers had cracked and damaged in several places the roof of the magazine, and that the french troops were in momentary dread of an explosion. This, indeed, was the alleged, and it must be admitted to have been a very natural, cause of the proposal to capitulate. The court of inquiry which sat at Paris on the 6th of December, 1809, to investigate the causes of the surrender of the colony, strongly animadverted upon the neglect of not having previously removed the powder to the galleries of the fortress; and, for that and other causes, the governor-general, viceadmiral Villaret-Joyeuse, together with some of the subordinate officers, was stripped of his rank and honours.
On the 8th of December, 1808, a small expedition, Expeconsisting of the british 20-gun ship Confiance, cap- against tain James Lucas Yeo, the two portuguese brigs Cay.. Woader and Infante, and some smaller vessels, having on board about 550 portuguese land forces, under the command of lieutenant-colonel Manoel Marques, and which had been fitted out at the Brazils, with the concurrence of rear-admiral sir William Sidney Smith, the british commander in chief on that station, took peaceable possession of the district of Oyapok in French Guyane, and on the 15th reduced that of Approuak. This success determined captain Yeo and the portuguese lieutenant-colonel to make a descent on the east side of the island of Cayenne; on which stands the town of the same name, the capital of the colony. The island is divided into two parts